Jim Valvano has been under fire for more than a week over allegations of point shaving involving players on the 1987-88 Wolfpack team, leaving both insiders and casual observers wondering if his resignation as North Carolina State basketball coach were imminent.
'I'm not resigning,' Valvano told CBS Sunday afternoon.
Nonetheless, the question was unsettled as Valvano's attorney huddled with university officials, likely debating a $500,000 buyout clause in his contract. The clause stipulates that if Valvano is fired without cause, he gets $500,000. If he quits, the university gets $500,000.
Valvano has always been at odds with the academic establishment at N.C. State because of his win at almost any cost attitude.
But a droll sense of humor has won him fans among the student body. After one stunning loss to the Tarheels, he called a news conference.
'This fellow wrote me that if we lose one more game to North Carolina,' Valvano said, 'he's going to come up and shoot my dog. I wrote him back that I appreciated his interest, but I didn't have a dog.
'A couple days later, the guy sends me a dog,' Valvano quipped.
For all his good humor, Valvano has had little reason to smile for the past week. The allegations center around $65,000 that former Wolfpack player Charles Shackleford, now with the New Jersey Nets, says he accepted from two men in his sophomore and junior years at State.
Shackleford calls the money a loan and denies he ever participated in point shaving.
For the past 10 years, Valvano has been under fire at N.C. State. The Faculty Senate as early as 1981 began criticizing the fact that Valvano's players were academically weak.
The coach, they complained, didn't care whether his players attended class. If they failed courses, they alleged, grades were changed.
Valvano is no stranger to controversy. Last year, the NCAA imposed sanctions on N.C. State's basketball program after investigating a long list of alleged violations and finding that players were allowed to sell athletic shoes and complimentary tickets.
But Valvano denies any knowledge of players shaving points, something that has made no difference to those calling for his removal.
'I'm sorry, but enough is enough,' said Tom Honeycutt, former Faculty Senate chairman. 'Here we have another situation and he's saying, 'Don't hold me responsible.''
Editorial writers last week agreed on one thing -- if Valvano didn't know about the alleged point-shaving, he should have at least noticed when a player like Shackleford, the youngest of eight children in a family of modest means, suddenly came into a large amount of cash.
William Johnson, a longtime member of the Univesity System Board of Governors, said it was long overdue that Valvano be held accountable.
'The bottom line is, there are just too many unfortunate things that have happened during his tenure,' said Johnson. 'I think in order to wipe away the stain, there's got to be a general cleaning out.'
Valvano, who turns 44 on Saturday, is a native New Yorker. He attended Seaford High School on Long Island, where he earned 10 letters in basketball, baseball and football.
As a senior at Rutgers, he captained a team that finished third in the NIT and earned all-tournament honors. He graduated from Rutgers with a degree in English in 1967 and was named the university's Senior Athlete of the Year.
Valvano has been Wolfpack coach since 1980. Entering Sunday's regular season finale against Wake Forest, he had a 187-102 record at N.C. State.
Overall, Valvano has a 346-209 record in 18 years of coaching -- he was 94-47 at Iona from 1975-80, 33-42 at Bucknell from 1972-75 and 10-9 at Johns Hopkins in 1969.
Under Valvano, the Wolfpack has won one NCAA title (1983) and been in the NCAA tournament six times. The team was in the NIT in 1984. His NCAA Tournament record is 14-6.
Valvano's teams have notched two Atlantic Coast Conference championships (1982-83, 1986-87), and he was named ACC coach of the year last season.
The highlight of Valvano's career came in Albuquerque, N.M., when N.C. State upset Houston 54-52 to capture the national title for the 1982-83 season.
On July 1, 1986, Valvano was named Athletic Director at N.C. State. He was stripped of that job last year after N.C. State was placed on probation, but he was allowed to keep his job as coach.